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Case Closed

by Patrik Ouředník (2010, Dalkey Archive Press)

“It’s the playful, wordy sensibility of Beckett, perhaps, that can be felt most in Ouředník’s latest brainteaser of a novel, Case Closed—a sort-of Waiting for Godot along the Vltava.”


“Ouředník offers tantalizing clues in brief chapters and alternating points of view that are endlessly, and humorously, non-intersecting; but the chain of perhaps unrelated events amounts to a gleeful skewering of the Czech national character and a character-rich, dialogue-sassy send-up colored by a lingering Communist legacy.”
Case Closed has all the elements of a detective novel — crimes, suspects, clues — but not the form... Like other writers working on the experimental fringes of the detective genre, such as Alain Robbe-Grillet and Leonardo Sciascia, Ouředník uses it to ask questions beyond the narrow confines of crime and punishment. Over the course of Case Closed, it becomes clear that it’s not just retirees and apartments who are at risk in Prague: language itself is in peril.”